Thursday, February 26, 2009

Peas, of All Things

Any of you who know us or have followed our story for a while know that Eli has what is termed an "oral aversion." Due to his terrible reflux (which he has thankfully almost totally outgrown), eating became so painful and scary for him that he wanted to stop eating altogether. Over the past 6 or so months we have been through so much with his eating habits, and he is finally at the point where he is (most days) eating enough from his bottles to gain weight. If he can keep this up, we can avoid a feeding tube for a while longer.

But, as he is almost 10 months old (8 months, adjusted), we need him to start eating solids, since he can't drink bottles forever. And herein is our difficulty. Eli HATES eating from a spoon. You'd think I was trying to shove a knife into his mouth if you were watching his reaction. We have been working with a therapist to help him overcome his aversion, but the going has been extremely slow.

For the past two weeks our "homework" was to not feed him by spoon at all. We were to offer him cookies, crackers, puffs, etc. that he could feed himself, but we were not to force one single bite of food into him. Our therapist was hoping that this would help him to forget the negative associations he had made with spoon feeding. I personally didn't think this would work, but I prayed diligently for the past two weeks that the next time I tried to feed him with a spoon, he would eat happily.

Today we went to therapy and Heather (the therapist) just had him "play" in his food. By letting him get messy and get his toys in the food, he gets little tastes of it and will hopefully slowly learn to like it. Eli did fairly well with this approach, and I love the way Heather works with him. Our "homework" for the next two weeks is to do the same thing- strip him down, plunk him in the high chair, dump a whole bunch of baby food on the tray, and let him go nuts with his hands, toys, etc. But no spoon feeding.

So this afternoon I did exactly that. Naked baby, plenty of mashed peas, and lots of fun toys. I was watching him and mulling over what Heather told me earlier in the day, that Eli will most likely need therapy until he is at least two years old, that it will take at least that long for him to eat well. I felt so discouraged. I know that a feeding aversion is not the end of the world, but it is hard. I want so badly for Eli to overcome this so that he can enjoy food and so that every meal doesn't have to be a battle. I was mentally gearing myself up for another year or more of feeding battles when God reminded me of the prayer that I had been praying for the past two weeks... did I dare try to spoon-feed Eli today?

Eli was having such a great time playing around in his peas, so I decided to push my luck. I grabbed a spoon and fed him a bite... he opened his mouth and ate it happily. What?!? Is this my baby? Another bite. Another. Another... perhaps 20 bites, all happily received. I was crying by the time he finished. I am floored by the miracles of God, displayed so clearly to me in my orally aversive child happily eating half a jar of baby food. And peas, of all things!

So, whether this was a one-time thing that God will use to give me the boost I need to continue with Eli's eating aversion, or whether this was the beginning of Eli's coming out of his aversion, I am praising God tonight. He is so good.

I took the video below because Eric wasn't at home to see Eli eating so well. When I showed it to him he got tears in his eyes. I know this whole post may sound silly and overblown, but to me it is such a milestone. Thank you for reading about it! (And please ignore my embarrassingly high-pitched voice in the video!)

video

P.S. Would you please become a follower of our blog if you haven't already!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Oh How I Love Rocky


No, not the movie "Rocky." Rocky our nurse practioner. She's amazing. We went to see her today for Eli's 9-month well-child check-up (that's a lot of hyphenated words!).

Ask anyone who knows me well and they will tell you that I need a lot of assurance. And reassurance. And re-re-assurance. If I'm in a difficult situation, I need someone to tell me that it will be okay, and then remind me 5 minutes later, and 5 minutes again after that. If I'm worrying about something and am trying to give it to God, I thrive off of someone telling me not to worry, to rest in the Lord. I love reassurance!

And that is exactly what Rocky gave me today. Since Eli is a premie, I (and all his doctors) watch him extra closely for any sort of prematurity-related problems he might have. I worry about anything and everything regarding Eli, because I want so badly to ensure that he is getting everything he needs to grow and develop. I try so hard to "cast my cares upon Him," and I'm learning so much about giving my worries to God. But a little assurance goes a long way with me- perhaps God even uses others to assure me that He's in control as He teaches me to let go of my worries.

Anyway, today Rocky sat and praised Eli for the longest time. "Look at him!" she kept telling me. "Look how bright, interactive, and charming he is! He's tracking 100% with his gestational age. He doesn't need any other kind of therapy to help him develop. He's getting there just fine." Oh, how my heart soared! I needed so badly to hear that from someone in the medical profession! Thank you God for Rocky!

My heart is light this afternoon as I go over her words in my head. Eli is doing just fine. Just fine!

And he also happens to weigh 13# 9 oz., which is an 8-oz. gain from his last weigh-in. Our tiny baby is growing so much! He is currently sleeping off the memory of the shots he got today, poor guy. :)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Not So Safe and Very Sorry!


Oh, the tears that flowed at our house this morning. Eli had his fair share, but I think I could have drowned him with all of mine! Why, you ask? Oh, I am ashamed to admit it, but here goes... Eli scooted himself off of our bed and onto the floor this morning! And who was the one who put him there on the bed and left him unattended for a moment? MOMMY. Yes, terrible, horrible, guilt-ridden Mommy.

In my sorry defense, Eli is not really "mobile" yet (or at least not until this morning!). He has never even come close to rolling or scooting or crawling off of our bed, which I place him on regularly while I wash my hands, put on my jewelry, etc. And I always place him close to the center so that if he did fall over from sitting up, he wouldn't fall off the edge.

But, alas, today was the day that he decided to go from sitting up to lying on his tummy, and from lying on his tummy to some sort of scoot, and from a scoot to the floor. The thud that I heard was the worst sound in the world, and I immediately burst into tears as I picked him up and comforted him. He was upset, of course, but easily calmed, and I could find no bumps, bruises, or other injuries. I watched him like a hawk for hours afterward, making sure that he wasn't acting wierd at all, and he was (and is) his normal, happy, active self. (I, however, cried for quite a while afterwards!)

So, thankfully, we escaped this episode of Mommy's stupidity unscathed. I don't know that I will ever forget the image of his little body lying on the floor by the bed, or escape the horrible guilt that I feel for allowing it to happen!

I told my mom about the whole thing this afternoon, expecting more of a shocked or sad reaction from her, but she seemed completely unphased by it. "These things happen!" she said. What a great perspective, and helpful in assuaging some of my guilt. She then proceeded to tell me of my tumble down a flight of uncarpeted stairs when I was an infant. :) I also told Carol (one of my mom's best friends and a big part of my life for many years), and her response was shockingly calm as well. "Think of this as a milestone!" she said. Baby's first tumble from a bed- um, yeah, I think I will leave this one out of the baby book.

So there- it's out. Please don't judge me! I promise that I'm not that bad of a mom. If any of you other moms want to offer any stories of your children falling off of beds, couches, or any other raised areas, I'd be much comforted to hear them. :)

P.S. Follow, follow, follow, follow... If you haven't already, will you click on the link to the right to become a "follower" of this blog?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Tidbits

Today it was 75 degrees in Texas- blue skies, warm sun, the works. My dear friend Sarah and I packed up Eli and her two boys, Titus and Rye, and headed to the Arboretum for a walk and a picnic. There was no more perfect way to spend the afternoon! Here is Eli in his stroller...



This afternoon I went to get my hair trimmed at one of those SuperCuts-type places. I haven't been to a place like that since I was in junior high and the girl gave me BANGS when bangs were not at all in style. I managed to stop the flow of my tears after several long days and have since then gone only to Jenna, the world's greatest stylist. But I just haven't been able to work it into my schedule to see her lately since she's kind of far away and only works 3 days a week. So, since I just needed a simple, straight-across, 1/2-inch trim (and when I say 'needed a trim,' I mean NEEDED A TRIM), I decided to face my fears and head to Pro Styles here in Mesquite. I circled the parking lot twice before I parked the truck and went inside. :) Here I am personally introduced to Shawn, my stylist, who proceeds to ask me about 301 questions about how exactly I want my hair cut. Seriously, how many ways can you say "trim?" Anyway, he trims up the back of my hair, hands me the mirror to check it out, and asks me if it looks okay. I tell him it looks great, and then he starts cleaning up. I look at myself in the mirror- back of the hair soaking wet and trimmed, front of the hair dry as a bone and untrimmed- and just laugh. "Um, Shawn?" I say, "I need the front trimmed too."

So if you need ALL of your hair trimmed, I wouldn't recommend Pro Styles in Mesquite. Especially since I paid $14.95 for a 7-minute hair cut. Next time I'm holding out for Jenna, no matter how bad my split ends get.

I was reading in Psalm 37 tonight and came across this verse, which I have read many times...

"Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness." (3)

I love this verse- I love the idea of "cultivating faithfulness" in my life. But then I looked down at the footnote in my Bible and saw that "cultivate faithfulness" can be translated as "feed on His faithfulness." WOW! I was stunned. What a beautiful picture- God's faithfulness is all that I need to completely sustain me, to make me grow, to nourish me. How do I "dwell" in the situations in which God has placed me? By "feeding on his faithfulness." Lord, help me to feed on your faithfulness even today!

Finally, I am going to put myself out there middle-school-style. Will you follow my blog? (Circle yes or no.)

Seriously, I would love to know who is reading this blog, and "followers" seems like a good way to do it. So if you read this blog, would you click on the link to the right and become a "follower?" And please don't leave me hanging- my ego is on the line here. :)

Thanks for reading these random tidbits!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Lately...


Life has been so enjoyable lately. That is, when I don't let myself get carried away with worry about Eli's eating habits. :)

We have been seeing some improvement in his eating, though..

-He is eating more at each feeding, and he is eating eagerly for the most part.

-He dropped his night-time feeding. Though I would like him to get those extra ounces at night, I must admit that it is really nice to put him to bed at 6pm and not hear a peep out of him until 7am! :)

-He LOVES foods that he can feed to himself. This includes organic chocolate animal cookies, "puffs," teething biscuits, and Gerber "little crunchies." I am beginning to think that he will skip the "baby food" stage all together and move right on to table foods.

-He still hates to be fed by spoon, though we are seeing some small improvements as we continue in therapy.

Here are a few other things I love about my sweet boy...

-He loves to be scared. We spend so much time jumping out at him, saying "Boo!" into his face, playing peek-a-boo, etc. He thinks it's hilarious to get really good and scared. I'm glad for this, because Eric and I take great delight in scaring each other- it's nice that Eli shares our passion. :)

-He longs to be mobile. He's not too content any more to just be carried around. He's always leaning out of our arms, trying to wiggle away. If he can just get the crawling thing down, he'll be happy as a clam!

-He LOVES Daddy. He's content with me all day long, but as soon as Daddy walks in the door he goes nuts until Eric picks him up. It's precious! I love the bond that they share.

-He still hates tummy time, but he's learning to push up on his hands and knees. Hopefully crawling will shortly follow.

-He can pull himself up a little, which is so cute to watch. But because he's so little still most everything in our house is too tall for him to reach. :)

-He loves to stand and bounce. He also loves to be outside.

-He's little, but he's happy, healthy, active, and the sweetest little thing you'll ever meet. I try to focus on these things and remember that he'll eventually catch up in size, even if it is little by little.

For Valentine's Day Eric and I stayed here at home and cooked a fancy meal and watched a movie. It was really nice. He gave me a beautiful bouquet of some of my favorite flowers (tulips and lilies) and a gift certificate for a "wifey time out," meaning that I get to go have lunch, a pedicure, dinner, a night in a hotel, and breakfast the next morning all by myself. I know this sounds crazy to some people- why would I want to do all these things by myself? But nothing sounds better to me. Since having Eli I have been craving more than ever some good, prolonged time alone. Just to think, pray, and rest. I am so thankful that Eric knows this about me and makes such an effort to give me these breaks that I need. I am so looking forward to my "wifey time out," and I will be so eager afterwards to come home to my amazing husband and precious son, who make life so fulfilling. My gift to Eric was a concert that we saw on Tuesday night of sacred music, performed by the Fort Worth symphony orchestra and chorale. It was a really fun date for us, and I'm so thankful for parents who are willing babysitters!

Now it's time take Eli for a long walk on this gorgeous afternoon...

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

No Story but My Own


I heard it said long ago that "comparison is the thief of joy." How true this is! I have seen this proved again and again in my life, and I have found that I am at my most content when I am satisfied with exactly what the Lord has given to me without comparing it to what others have/don't have. I am reminded of Aslan's words to Shasta in C.S. Lewis' The Horse and His Boy.... Shasta is asking why certain things happened to his friend Aravis, and Aslan replies, "Child, I tell no one any story but his own." If I could only learn to live in my story!

One of the most difficult things for me lately has been comparing Eli to other babies his age. Granted, he is not a true 9-month-old baby. He was born almost 2 months early, which puts him at about 7 months of age. But still. I look at other babies who are growing like weeds, eating all kinds of foods, crawling around the house, babbling with consanants galore, and I think, "Why not Eli?" Why is he gaining weight so slowly? having trouble eating? refusing tummy time, much less crawling? babbling only with "ooo" and "aaahhh" sounds? I see my nephews, born around the same time as Eli, surpassing him in both development and size. I watch them crawl around, eat happily and much, use consanants that have never escaped Eli's lips. And I think, "Why not Eli?"

And then I kick myself and feel so ashamed, because in making these comparisons I am robbing myself of the joy of having Eli be exactly who he is. I am robbing myself of the enjoyment of every single moment of this baby that we almost lost 9 months ago. And I am robbing Eli of a mom who is thrilled with exactly who he is.

I have been praying so much this week for a heart that is absolutely joyful and content in what the Lord has given to me, namely my sweet son. I want to savor every single moment of Eli's life, whether he's 13 pounds or 20 pounds, crawling or not, eating tons or eating only a little, saying "ooo" and "aaahhh" or saying full sentences. Eli is Eli, knitted together by our amazing Father who knows him inside and out. I wouldn't trade him for anything in this world. Oh, for the heart to truly live in my story without letting comparison rob me of joy. This story- of Eric, me, and Eli- is a pretty good one after all.

Monday, February 9, 2009

9 Months


Sweet Eli,

I can't believe that you are 9 months old today! Though it feels like ages since I first heard your tiny little cry, I am amazed at how quickly these months together have flown by.

You continue to amaze me. Your sweet spirit is one of the biggest blessings in my life. You are our miracle, reminding us every single day that God is faithful. Oh, how I love you, my baby boy. It is an honor to be your mom.

This month you...
-Perfected the art of sitting up.
-Began to notice and "talk to" the dogs.
-Started eating more from your bottles!
-Weighed in at 13# 1oz.
-Made it clear that long walks outside are your absolute favorite activity.
-Got a little better at eating with a spoon, although you're still not too big a fan of being fed that way.
-Found your love of teething biscuits, crackers, and chocolate cookies. :)
-Became so much more ticklish!
-Captured our hearts each and every day.

Happy 9 months, Eli Dane! You are the joy of our lives.

-Mommy.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Big Boy

Eli was weighed today when we went for his monthly RSV shot. I was so nervous, praying and praying that he had gained at least a little...

Our big guy weighs 13 pounds, 1 ounce!

Wahoo! He's gained about 12 ounces in the past month, which is huge for him. Thank God for that stomach virus that made him want to eat again! We're slowly increasing the amount he eats at each feeding and praying that this good weight gain continues. Please join us in prayer for Eli's intake and weight to continue to rise. Thank you so much!